When I was in London recently, I was totally bowled over walking into the natural food store: Whole Foods Market. This three level food store, sells everything that falls within it’s ‘natural’ definition including; wines, ciders, fruit & veg, snacks, oils, cheese, grains, beauty products and customers are encouraged to make their own salads, lunches, butters and seed mixes. The most impressive area was the muesli making area where you could fill an empty tub with an extensive array of oats, grains, seeds, fruits and nuts. I am no health expert but believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day purely for the reason that it must excite you to get up in the morning. This idea of making your own muesli inspired me to start making it myself (with or without a Whole Food Market). I am often disappointed with bought muesli and you never really know what you are consuming sugar or fat wise. Once you put in the effort to buy the ingredients, making muesli is really simple and there are a few tricks you can do to make your muesli that extra bit special.
Here are some ingredients, their health benefits and their tastiness levels for you to consider when making your own muesli.
Oats: Oats (along with wheat flakes) generally make up the largest proportion of mueslis. Oats are high in fibre which help make you feel fuller for longer.
Wheat flakes: Are similar to oat flakes however have a chewier texture. They are also high in fiber and a good source of energy.
Wheat germ: The germ is the most nutrient rich part of the wheat berry so is a good supplement to your diet. Can buy toasted or untoasted.
Bran: Bran is the outer layer of the wheat grain and is another great way to increase your fiber intake. Bran contains mainly insoluble fibers which quickens the internal waste process.
Nuts are an amazing addition to muesli and if you have the time, roasting them really adds to their flavour. Toast on a baking tray on 160 degrees celsius, shaking the tray frequently until their colour deepens. Be careful as nuts can easily burn quickly.
Hazelnuts: My favourite nuts to add to muesli. They are the sweetest of all nuts and have a rich flavour when toasted
Almonds: Whole almonds or flaked are a good source of calcium and again are great to add to muesli.
Walnuts: Are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids, which is beneficial for the heart and brain. Roughly crumble and toast before adding to your mix.
Pecans: Are a rich source of energy, are high in antioxidants and have a rich/buttery taste.
Seeds can be eaten whole or you can find grounded forms in the supermarket
Linseeds (Flaxseeds): Are great to include as they are full of fibre and have a high source of omega -3 fatty acids.
Pepitas: have a rich flavour, are nice to bite into and are loaded with vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids.
Sunflower seeds: Another great seed, are a good source of essential fatty acids, minerals and vitamins. Have a slightly nutty taste
Instead of adding sugar to your muesli, dried fruit is the way to go. Adding any fresh fruit is a great on the day addition, however for storing purposes, dried fruit is a perfect sugar substitute.
Try using a mix of raisins, sultanas, dried cranberries, dates, figs dried banana and apricots. All of these are concentrated sources of energy, vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants. However try to avoid dry fruit such as papaya and pineapple pieces as these are heavily sugared to keep them preserved.
Other good additions:
Greek or plain yogurt
Stewed fruits (such as strawberry compote)
Grated apple (can soak with milk and grated apple overnight for a bircher style muesli)
Spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg
There is so much you can do, so it is a matter of deciding what you like and simply adding it! For week day mornings I don’t have much time to fuss around with breakfast, so I stew pears, plums, peaches (whatever is in season) on the weekend and keep this in the fridge. I then mix a whole host of some of the above ingredients together and package it together in an air tight container. Then all I need to do each morning, is mix the muesli, poached fruit, yoghurt and milk together. When it is 3 degrees outside and you need to get out of your warm doona at 7am, you need something to seriously excite you. Voila!